Ecumenical Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill conduct Sunday service in the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George at the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey July 5, 2009. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
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Russian media Tuesday warned of one of the gravest crises in the history of the Orthodox Church after the Moscow branch announced it would break ties with the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate.Constantinople's decision last week put an end to more than 300 years of Moscow's control over Orthodox churches in Ukraine and affects millions of believers in Russia and Ukraine.A Russian expert on religion, Roman Lunkin, told RBK that Moscow's move has created "two warring Orthodox worlds".The newspaper said the split between the Constantinople and Moscow Churches the highest-status and largest Orthodox Churches respectively followed on from the two greatest upheavals in Christian Church history.The Ukrainian president and lawmakers have backed independence for the country's currently divided Orthodox Church and see it as striking a blow against Moscow's influence in Ukraine.
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